The Hornets acquired Terry Rozier on a three-year, $56.7M contract as a “consolation prize” in the Kemba Walker sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics last summer. At the time, it was seen as a massive overpay for a player that paled in comparison to Walker and how important he was to the city of Charlotte — but that’s why they say “hindsight is 20/20.” Looking back on it, getting Rozier (and Boston’s second-round pick in the 2020 Draft) on a reasonable short-term deal was about as good as Mitch Kupchak could’ve done after it became clear that Walker was moving on.
Posting season averages of 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.0 steals with 42.3 percent FG/40.7 percent 3PT/87.4 percent FT shooting splits, Rozier was the team’s second-leading scorer and assister, while being by far the team’s best rebounder and interior defender at guard.
When Rozier was acquired, it was assumed he would be the starting point guard and focal point of the offense. The latter remained at least somewhat true, though his role on the team was much different than the franchise, or Rozier himself, expected. He willingly transitioned to playing two-guard after Devonte’ Graham broke out to aid in his development, and was less of a ball-stopper than he was with Boston. The occasional over-dribbling into a turnover is just a part of his game at this point, but it’s not as glaring an issue as it used to be. Perhaps James Borrego and his staff have something to do with that.
Where Rozier really exceeded expectations was his 3-point shooting; he evolved into one of the NBA’s best catch-and-shoot players from beyond the arc, converting on 45.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes. Among players who played 20-plus games and averaged three or more 3-point attempts per game, Rozier’s percentage ranks fourth behind Seth Curry, JJ Redick and CJ McCollum. That’s pretty good company. Rozier also shot 58.1 percent on field goals in the paint and 34.2 percent on pull-up 3-pointers, second on the team to Devonte’s 34.4 percent. My point; Terry Rozier is a good shooter.
Defensively, there were the usual question marks. Rozier is an aggressive on-ball defender with a lot of length despite standing at 6’ 1”, which allowed him to more-smoothly transition to defending opposing two-guards. The Hornets are generally not great at defense, but Rozier stood out as one of, if not the best guard defender on the team. His pick-and-roll navigation and off-ball helping/rotation can be a killer at times, but he does play hard and does a solid job of staying in front of his man when they have the ball.
Considering what the fan base expected of him at the time he was acquired, I don’t see how one could make the argument that he didn’t exceed expectations. $18M per year is a lot, but it’s not that much for a starting-caliber shooting guard that hits over 45 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes. He willingly stepped aside and let Devonte’ be “the man” on the team, even though he was expected to take the reign. Rozier, at least, showed us that his contract likely won't be viewed in the same light as Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — or that he can at least be traded for appropriate value (paging the New York Knicks). Charlotte is always going to be “overpaying” for free agents — it’s just a matter of how much, for whom, and their level of production once the player has gotten paid. Rozier produced.
P.S. Terry is cool as hell and his 3-point celebration also looks cool. I will always mention when a player is cool. It’s very important. He also authored the best tweet of all-time.
Final Grade: B+
What grade would you give Terry Rozier for his 2019-20 season?
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